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By Loading

3 Mar 2022

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Damage to two cables knocks Tasmania off the internet for six hours

Road construction in Tasmania and construction work in Melbourne. Just that was enough to take Tasmania off the internet for six hours.

Both cables were used to provide internet access to Tasmania, an island south of Australia. The two cables were severed at the same time, so the island lost all internet access. In addition to civilians at home, businesses and banks were affected, as ATM machines were out of service.

After six hours, one of the two cables was repaired, and the Internet connection was restored. The backup cable took longer to restore. Australian telco Telstra operates both cables.

For countries planning to expand their digital economies, there is a lesson to be learned here. To build resilience into a physical infrastructure, it is often necessary to build at least two identical infrastructures. This is obviously very expensive. On the other hand, a modern economy relies heavily on connectivity. There are often no other options than creating backup facilities for cabling infrastructure, data center facilities, and other critical infrastructure parts of a country.

This is not the first time a damaged cable has caused widespread internet outages. Rats chewed through a cable in New Zealand in 2005, causing a day-long internet outage for much of the country. Cables that brought internet access to Alexandria (Egypt) were cut in 2013, which was actually the result of sabotage. The cable that connects the island of Tonga to the internet was damaged earlier this year by a volcanic eruption.

Photo credit: (Deeva Sood)

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